Review: THE WAVE (2019)

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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Gille Klabin’s first feature The Wave. The stills were a mix of cosmic and mundane. The plot seemed like it was meant to be a drug comedy, but it claimed to be serious science fiction. And the script was by Carl W. Lucas whose credits were mostly as a producer on genre films like Don’t Blink and A Field Guide To Evil. Whatever I was expecting though, the film was something different.

Frank (Justin Long, Jeepers Creepers, Tusk) is a corporate lawyer. The kind who’s more than happy to earn a promotion by denying a dead fireman’s family his life insurance settlement on a technicality. In other words, he’s an asshole. His buddy Jeff (Donald Faison, Skyline) suggests they go out to celebrate.

They hook up with two women Natalie (Katia Winter, Banshee Chapter, Sleepy Hollow) and Theresa (Shelia Vand, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night). He also meets Aeolus (Tommy Flanagan, Sin City, Wu Assassins) who hooks him and Theresa up with a strange new drug.

Frank wakes up the next day in the ruins of a house party minus Theresa but with the ability to move himself through time and space. Panicking he tries to figure out what’s going on. As well as find Theresa and his wallet.

The Wave is a very well made film that’s never quite sure what it wants to be. It’s part thriller, especially once Ritchie (Ronnie Gene Blevins, Tone Deaf) enters the picture. It’s also part fantasy and part introspective drama as Frank starts to realize just what an asshole he’s become. The constant jumping between events and tone starts to get old after a while.

Long deserves a lot of credit for keeping the viewer attached to The Wave. He has the difficult enough task of making us care about Frank in the first place. Then he has to keep us focused on him as everything keeps shifting around him. Thankfully his chemistry with Vand is quite good and makes it believable that he would become obsessed with finding her. Of course, since Frank is married, (though far from happily it would seem), that can be problematic as far as his likeability as well.

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What we get in the end is a messy, but enjoyable mix of action thriller and head trip. The Wave could have been better with a bit more focus so it isn’t quite as scattered. An ending that wasn’t so obvious would have helped too. However, the pace of much of the film along with some great visuals helps distract from the script’s sloppiness. And thankfully it never gets to bogged down with the heavier topics it deals with.

The Wave opens nationwide in theatres and on VOD January 17th from Epic Pictures. You can get details on the film’s website and Facebook page.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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